The Backward Poem
(Hazards of Romanticizing the Past)
If this were dejavu does it mean life is backwards?
Are my shoes untied?
Did I sign my name backward on the professor's door?
Did I step on the escalator going in the wrong direction?
Is my fly open?
Am I a farmer plowing over my fields in reverse?
Giving back what little I have saved?
Does tobacco juice hop into my mouth
like a lizzard?
Does my dog crap backwards?
Does it magically come off the carpet
back onto my shoes
and off again?
Is New York City quaint?
Must I lose all my pleasure?
And Southern skyscrappers their glistening erections?
Will sewage systems run in reverse
and spew their putrid contents back into the bowls and bowels
of the body?
Is everyone at the bar full of shit?
Do oil wells in Houston shoot back into the ground?
Do the mosquitos of Mesquite return their bootleg blood
To original owners?
And fly backwards like hummingbirds to the backwood
back land swamps of Louisiana
where they were hatched
And eyed by fish and frog, undisturbed
by lures floating on the surface of infinity?
And the sun comes up and goes down
and the moon returns to her music
blinks and rises above the trees
to inspire the holy orchestra
While the world sleeps and dreams of yesterday
Madness! Summer madness!
But shhhhhhhhhh. Don't scare the fish
Sure I would love to see my grandfather again
and spend time with him on the land
Fishing and looking for snakes beneath the dock
But after a while we would get the feeling
we were covering the same ground
fishing the same old waters
is a nice place to be
as long as there is somewhere to return to
freedom is nice when it is paid for
And my liberation dream. Walking backward
in the forest
tigers return to their places
waiting in the shadows
along the trail
that leads to my mother's house
the house I had to leave
to find adequate plumbing